Author Interview with Peter Swanson

POSTED ON April 1, 2018 BY Austine IN Interview

It’s Sunday, Knights, and April Fool’s too! I don’t have a joke for you today but I do have a quick interview with Peter Swanson, author of All the Beautiful Lies (out April 3, 2018 from William Morrow)!

About Peter Swanson

Peter Swanson is the author of three novels: The Girl With a Clock For a Heart, an LA Times Book Award finalist; The Kind Worth Killing, winner of the New England Society Book Award, and finalist for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger; and his most recent, Her Every Fear. His books have been translated into 30 languages, and his stories, poetry, and features have appeared in Asimov’s Science FictionThe Atlantic MonthlyMeasureThe GuardianThe Strand Magazine, and Yankee Magazine.

A graduate of Trinity College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and Emerson College, he lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with his wife and cat.
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All About Peter


Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired All the Beautiful Lies?

I’ve always wanted to write a classic whodunit set in a seaside town, and, many years ago, I came up with a very basic idea. A man is killed, seemingly by accident, and a strange young woman goes to his funeral. The mystery of his death is tied in with the mystery of her appearance. That was all I had, just those few plot points, and eventually I just started writing it. I found out, of course, that it was a very different story than the one I had planned on writing.


Introduce us to your main character.

There are two main characters. One is Harry Atkinson, who returns to live with his stepmother after the death of his father. He is a recent college graduate, stricken with grief, and wondering what to do with the rest of his life. The other main character is Alice Moss, his stepmother. Half the book is devoted to her life as a teenager. She is a very complex woman; I’d call her an unreliable narrator of her own life.


I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I really loved Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. It’s both a deconstruction of a murder mystery, and also a great mystery (two mysteries) in itself. I wish I’d written it!

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Fun Stuff!


A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

My current favorite actors are Alicia Vikander, Idris Elba, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Fassbender. So any of them will happily do as a character from one of my books.


This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?

London is my favorite city and I would love to visit there during the Elizabethan age when Shakespeare was putting on productions at The Globe Theater. I’m fully prepared for the stench, but also for the fascinating spectacle of seeing what a first production of one of Shakespeare’s plays was like.


Coffee or tea?

Coffee, and too much of it.


Favorite quote?

There’s a line in my favorite novel of all time, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, that goes, “Nice things are nicer than nasty ones.” That pretty much sums it up.

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Author Interview with Peter Swanson
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson
Published on April 3, 2018 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 304
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Suspense/Thriller
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Harry Ackerson has always considered his step-mother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “other worldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.

Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, he returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help one another pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.

Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.

Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.


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